Sunday, February 25, 2024

Surrender package sought for GNLA men

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The State Government has moved the Centre for a surrender package for 20 GNLA cadres who had laid down their arms to the Government recently.

“We have written to the Centre to issue a surrender package for the 20 surrendered cadres. The Centre’s reply is still awaited,” Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh told reporters on Monday.

The GNLA cadres led by the outfit’s “chief training instructor” Mingran T Sangma surrendered before the Home Minister on April 27. Admitting that he had earlier termed the GNLA as a “bunch of criminals”, the Home Minister said at present the outfit is not only growing in cadre strength but also having huge number of arms and ammunition at their disposal. “Now, they are qualified to be termed as a militant outfit,” he added. When asked if the proposed surrender package would send a wrong message to the unemployed youth to take up arms, he said it is Government’s duty to persuade the misguided youth. “We would like to bring them back into the mainstream and allow them to lead a normal life,” he said, adding, this should not mean that Government would be soft on those who take up arms. He clarified that any individual or group of dacoits using arms to do illegal activities would not get the same treatment. Meanwhile, he rejected outright any chance of holding talks with the GNLA, saying the Government would want to wipe out the GNLA. “Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma recently wrote to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram for allocation of five more companies of paramilitary forces. We would be utilising these additional companies in anti-GNLA operations,” the Home Minister said.

SMS probe: The Home Minister said he has directed the DGP, Prem Singh, to conduct a detailed inquiry into alleged “threatening SMSes” and calls to five Congress legislators of Garo Hills by the GNLA through Bangladeshi mobile phones. “I have asked the DGP to submit the report after completion of the inquiry. We would take action as per the findings of the inquiry,” Lyngdoh said. If required, the Government would even seek the help of the Union Ministry of External Affairs to find out the truth. The Home Minister said he had also ordered an inquiry into the alleged serving of demand notes to non-Garo Government employees serving in Garo Hills by the GNLA. “From where will the Government employees pay Rs 30 lakh as demanded by the GNLA,” he said. It is learnt that many such employees are reluctant to go to Garo Hills since they received the demand notes asking for up to Rs 30 lakh.

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